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Curious in general; how often do you/your students take a fall?

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  • Curious in general; how often do you/your students take a fall?

    Aplogies if this is a strange thread to start, but considering a lot of us are gearing up for the season, how often do we all fall off?

    I had a student this morning take a spill, it was a little bazarre, she just kind of....slipped off the side and landed in her butt after just crossing cavaletti in 2 point during warm-up. Schoolie even looked perplexed.

    Got me thinking about the frequency of students falling off, and how often professionals take a turn in the dirt. I teach 25-30 hours a week, and in that time will have taught 40-50 students, and had 4 students take a spill last year. I personally only ride 2-3 horses a day, and my last fall was just over five years ago but Im not exactly a "balls out" kind if rider and only school the greenies after I Ace them (kidding!).

  • #2
    Wow! I'd think your record is pretty low!! I also taught about the same number of lessons/week you were a long time ago. I didn't have what I thought were a lot of falls, probably 1-2/month, but of all those, don't think anyone ever ever suffered a serious injury--KNOCK ON WOOD. Riding about 3horses/day, I was falling off maybe 5-6x/year.

    Now as an ammy mostly riding only one young/green horse, I've fallen off an average of about 3-4x/year for the last couple years. The first few years were due to silly baby stuff, the last year has been related to green jumping errors.


    • #3
      Ummm, I'd rather not say in fear of jinxing myself! It seems every time I bring up the fact that things are going well in the staying on department, wham! Not that my record is strong at this point..... or maybe it is??
      "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH


      • #4
        I fall probably 2-3 times a year. I got a new horse in October, and I haven't fallen off of him yet - knock on wood! However, I've fallen off my jumper about 4 times in the past two years.

        I think the amount of falls depends on the rider, the mount, and their relationship. I tend to fall off more when I'm on a new horse. The first time I ever fell I had one lesson in the morning at one barn and another at a different barn. I fell off during both lessons! The first one was totally my fault. We were doing gymnastics and I just.. fell. I think I wanted to fall off - I don't know. I just kind of went off!

        Later that day, I was riding a mean little pony who loved to stop. It was my first time on him, and he stopped and I kept going!
        I was about 12 when both of these happened. I rode for 7 years without falling for the first time!


        • #5
          I think you'll get a lot of people answering in their heads, but not wanting to put a number down for fear of jynxing them/ourselves.
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


          • #6
            Lol knock on wood in 15 yrs I've came off 6 times. That was including riding greenies and new horses at a stable we swere at that no one knew anything about really. I've been extremely lucky. Now I have a good ole boy and I hope he continues to behave where there are no issues lol.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


            • #7
              I fell off around 6 times the first year I had my horse. Last year only once and this year once so far. Knock on wood! I rode for about 5 years before falling off for the first time.


              • #8
                A trainers job is to know their students capabilities and build upon a solid foundation.

                In my experience most of the falls that I've witnessed were due to either a true accident such as a completely unexpected event causing a horse to spook. However in some cases it seemed likely due to a trainer who was asking their student to attempt work that they were not fully prepared to attempt due to an incomplete set of foundational abilities.

                I really don't think numbers are a measure of anything very significant, unless they are related to a trainer who is not insisting that their studients possess a level of sufficiency before progressing to activities that require that sufficient base of ability to make the path of growing in riding sophistication a methodological process, rather than one of arbitrary selection.

                One must also consider the suitability of the particular horse for the particular rider....


                • Original Poster

                  Do you think that society today is more letigous, or has different, stricter safety standards? If so, do you think teaching methods have changed over the years to better protect the trainers and businesses, resulting in fewer falls, but perhaps slower progress or thinner skinned riders? Are instructors today witnessing fewer falls than they might have 10 or 20 years ago? My friends and I growing up definitely fell off a lot more than my students do today, but safety and rules were a lot more relaxed, and standards different, than today. Or maybe it was just the barn where we rode.
                  Last edited by eastendjumper; Mar. 16, 2013, 10:04 PM. Reason: Clarification


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
                    Do you think that society today is more letigous? If so, do you think teaching methods have changed over the years to better protect the trainers and businesses, resulting in fewer falls, but perhaps slower progress or thinner skinned riders? I remember as a kid, my friends and I were constantly falling off! My students today can't begin to compare, but even though I am insured, I feel like I have to be extremely careful with today's safety standards that border on coddling our kids. For example, I didn't even own a riding helmet when I started riding, and often didn't wear a seatbelt in the car; that would be child abuse by today's standards! I feel like I have to roll with the times, but I worry it's not the best method, necessarily, for truly teaching our kids how to really ride.
                    I understand your point, but I don't consider teaching to be any more complex than striving to find what works best to help each particular student learn, and the trainer having the comprehensive understanding of teaching riding necessary to progress that student along a in a step by step structured learning program that serves to both empower the student with foundational abilities that they may build upon, and maintain a reasonable facilitation for safety by requiring prerequisite abilities before moving onto those activities that depend on having those prerequisite abilities in order to competently partake in.

                    For me and many others this isn't rocket science, but rather only common sence. But since in some states anyone can call themselves a trainer with no type of certification, there may be trainers whose teaching methods might be based on different views...

                    Like the parable of the parrent who teaches their child to swim by throwing them in a pond and saying "swim". Maybe the child might swim, and maybe the parent might have to jump in to save the child from drowning.


                    • #11
                      I'm not a trainer but a student. I have fallen off 4 times in the past 6ish years. One was due to a spook, one due to a slippery saddle pad and slipping saddle, then twice from very unexpected bucking fits. Most recently last week.


                      • Original Poster

                        I agree with you Alterhorse, and it is common sense (or hope it would be!) I feel confident that my kids don't attempt something that they are not foundationally stong enough for, or I would be witnessing my student's falling off a lot more than they do, and similar to your first post, very rarely do they fall off because of any sort of lack of readiness or ability, and almost entirely due to the unexpected events. Because I feel like parent's today are more protective than they used to be though, I second guess myself when I even ask a student to drop stirrups; I know and the student knows that it is necessary and will make them stronger, but WHAT IF they take a bad spill doing it, and WHAT IF the parent's don't understand and consider going without stirrups an unnecessary risk? By the way, this example happened in our area, trainer almost got sued over it . So even if I feel confident a student is ready to move up, I may hold off on that step longer than necessary, while another trainer may not hesitate at all.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
                          Do you think that society today is more letigous, or has different, stricter safety standards? If so, do you think teaching methods have changed over the years to better protect the trainers and businesses, resulting in fewer falls, but perhaps slower progress or thinner skinned riders? Are instructors today witnessing fewer falls than they might have 10 or 20 years ago? My friends and I growing up definitely fell off a lot more than my students do today, but safety and rules were a lot more relaxed, and standards different, than today. Or maybe it was just the barn where we rode.
                          I think the difference today is that kids are less likely to spend a lot of time riding unsupervised. My friends and I fell off a lot when we were kids. But, mostly it was when we were running wild around the countryside on half-trained ponies. I rarely fell off in my regular riding lesson.

                          I don't think instructors today are more safety conscious than they were in the past. My first riding instructor job was in 1978 and we were very safety conscious. The general philosophy was that falls were not inevitable and if one of our beginner or intermediate students fell off, it was the instructor's fault. Now, sure, we all know that sometimes stuff happens, but a lot of "stuff" can be avoided if the instructor uses good judgement and is vigilant. Of course, I'm speaking of lower level riders. Once you start riding greener horses and doing more demanding work, the chances of stuff happening go up.
                          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                          that's even remotely true."

                          Homer Simpson


                          • #14
                            last year with my old trainer and new horse I fell off almost every week, this year with the lots of horses (including my guy) and a new trainer I've fallen off twice (once going around a turn and we were kicked at and my horse contorted himself which ended up with him stepping on my knee) and once on a greenie who no one knew much about and it turns out had a strong aversion to wind.
                            My Horse Show Photography/ Blog


                            • #15
                              I fell off in February 2012 and on Jan. 2, 2013. Prior to those two falls, my last fall had been so long ago I actually can't recall when it was (I figured out at one point that it had to have been more than 10 years ago). Of course I did have close calls and other horse related incidents during that time (got cracked in the face really hard by a green horse I was riding in a schooling ring when a vehicle backfired and he leapt off all four feet; got mowed over by my horse after a ride when he spooked hard into me while I was running my stirrups up, etc.).


                              • #16
                                I've fallen off of my greenie twice since I got him (I got him in august). The first was due to a spook bolt combo in warmup and I didn't have my girth tightened all the way yet and my saddle just slipped when I lost my balance. The second also due to a spook when he spooked, bucked, I lost my stirrups, then he took off and bucked again. But it's funny, the last few falls I've had, when I got on I thought about how little I had fallen off recently and then boom! those rides I would hit the dirt!
                                Follow my instagram @snafflesandwellies for all things horses + fashion!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Yikes! I am so past due for a fall (watch, it will happen this week). I do have to brag about my guy; backed and started him 4 years ago and he still hasn't come close to any attempt to throw me, never pulled any baby stuff that might have unseated me. But, we did have a lot of time to build a relationship (bought him as a yearling and worked with him consistently from that point on).


                                  • #18
                                    My record (the week of extraordinary events) was five students fall in a week. It was one of those ridiculous weeks where odd events conspired against students.

                                    Generally though, teaching probably 60-75 students a week, I have probably one or two students fall a month.

                                    I had two gnarly falls and one stupid fall last year. Maybe one or two the year before. I ride mostly greenies and jumpers. When I rode on my own as a kid, I fell ALL THE TIME. haha (How else do you learn how to stay on??)


                                    • #19
                                      This week I lost two students! They each fell off the two quietest ones in the barn. Each from a buck which neither horse really got their head down. I have never seen either throw a buck ever.
                                      Typically my students fall about 1x a year but some alot less except the one on the small pony that can drop a shoulder . She goes off about 3x per year.
                                      I can't recall all my falls in 33 years of riding but it is under ten times.


                                      • #20
                                        As a student I've fallen off three times. The first two times the horses just spooked. The third time was a bizarre sequence of events where we were trotting and the horse tripped and fell into the wall and it knocked my foot out of the stirrup, which swung around and hit the horse on his side and he tried to bolt, and tripped again and off I went. It was very ridiculous and my trainer and I laughed and laughed.